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Douai to establish popular pastimes resembling those of Spain. According to these base-minded antiquarians, Gayant was an invention of Charles V., who added a variety of pageants to the yearly procession with which the city celebrated its victory over Louis XI.; and when the Spaniards were finally driven from the soil, the knight remained as a popular hero, vaguely associated with earlier deeds of arms. That he was an object of continual solicitude - and expense is proven by a number of entries in the archives of Douai. In 1665 seven florins were paid to the five men who carried him through the streets, and twenty pastars to the two boys who danced before him, to say nothing of an additional outlay of six florins for the white dancing-shoes provided for them. Moreover, this being his wedding year, two hundred and eighty-three florins a large sum for those days were spent on Madame Gayant's gown, besides seventeen florins for her wig, and over forty florins for her jewels and other decorations. A wife is ever a costly luxury, but when she chances to be over twenty feet high her trousseau becomes a matter for much serious consideration. In 1715, the price of labor having risen and the knight's family having increased, it cost thirty-three florins to carry them in procession, Mademoiselle Thérèse, who was then too young to walk, being drawn in a wagon, probably for the first time. The repainting of faces, the repairing of armor, the replacing of lost pearls or broken fans, are all accounted for in these careful annals; and it is through them, also, that we learn how the Church occasionally withdrew her favor from the Sire de Gayant, and even went so far as to place him under a ban. M. Guy de Sève, Bishop of Arras in 1699, and M. Louis François Marc- Hilaire de Conzié, Bishop of Arras in 1770, were both of the opinion that the fête had grown too secular, not to say licentious in its character, and in spite of clamor
ous discontent the procession was sternly prohibited. But French towns are notably wedded to their idols. Douai never ceased to love and venerate her gigantic knight; and after a time, perhaps through the good offices of St. Maurand, he overcame his enemies, reëstablished his character with the Church, and may be seen to-day, as we had the happiness of seeing him, carried in triumph through those ancient streets that welcomed him five hundred years ago.
The Fête de Gayant is not a brief affair, like Guy Fawkes day or the Fourth of July. It lasts from the 8th of July until the 11th, and is made the occasion of prolonged rejoicing and festivity. In the public square, boys are tilting like knights of old, or playing antiquated games that have descended to them from their forefathers. Greased poles hung with fluttering prizes tempt the unwary; tiny donkeys, harnessed and garlanded with flowers, are led around by children; and a discreet woman in spangled tights sits languidly on a trapeze, waiting for the sous to be collected before beginning her performance. From that post of vantage she espies us standing on the outskirts of the crowd, and sends her little son, a pretty child, brave in gilt and tinsel, to beg from us.
As it chances, I have given all my sous to earlier petitioners, and I open my collapsed pocket-book to show him how destitute I am. With a swift corresponding gesture he turns his little tin canister upside down, and shakes it plaintively, proving that it is even emptier than my purse. This appeal is ir resistible. In the dearth of coppers a silver coin is found for him, which his mother promptly acknowledges by going conscientiously through the whole of her slender répertoire. Meanwhile, the child chatters fluently with us. He travels all the time, he tells us, and has been to Italy and Switzerland. His father can speak Italian and a little English. He likes the English people best of all,
a compliment to our supposed nationality; they are the richest, most generous, most charming and beautiful ladies in the world. He says this, looking, not at my companions, who in some sort merit the eulogium, but straight at me, with a robust guile that is startling in its directness. I have given the franc. To me is due the praise. Poor little lad! It must be a precarious and slender income earned by that jaded mother, even in time of fête; for provincial France, though on pleasure bent, hath, like Mrs. Gilpin, a very frugal mind. She does not fling money about with British prodigality, nor consume gallons of beer with German thirst, nor sink her scanty savings in lottery tickets with Italian fatuity. No, she drinks her single glass of wine, or cider, or syrup and water, and looks placidly at all that may be seen for nothing, and experiences the joys of temperance. She knows that her strength lies in husbanding her resources, and that vast are the powers of thrift.
Meanwhile, each day brings its allotted diversions. Gayly decorated little boats are sailing on the Scarpe, and fancying themselves a regatta. A band of archers are contesting for prizes in the Place St. Amé, where, hundreds of years ago, their forefathers winged their heavy bolts.
A carrousel vélocipédique is to be followed by a ball; carrier pigeons are being freed in the Place Carnot; a big balloon is to ascend from the esplanade; and excellent concerts are being played every afternoon in the pretty Jardin des Plantes. It is hard to make choice among so many attractions, especially as two days out of the four the Sire de Gayant and his family march through the streets, and draw us irresistibly after them. But we see the archers, and the pigeons, and the balloon, which takes three hours to get ready, and three minutes to be out of sight, carrying away in its car a grizzled aeronaut and an adventurous young woman, who embraces all her friends with
dramatic fervor, and unfurls the flag of France as she ascends, to the unutterable admiration of the crowd. We hear a concert, also, sitting comfortably in the shade, and thinking how pleasant it would be to have a glass of beer to help the music along. But the natural affinity, the close and enduring friendship between music and beer, which the Germans understand so well, the French have yet to discover. They are learning to drink this noble beverage-in small doses and to forgive it its Teutonic flavor. I have seen half a dozen men sitting in front of a restaurant at Lille or at Rouen, each with a tiny glass of beer before him; but I have never beheld it poured generously out to the thunderous accompaniment of a band. Even at Marseilles, where, faithful to destiny, we encountered a musical fête so big and grand that three hotels rejected us, and the cabmen asked five francs an hour, even amid this tumult of sweet sound, from which there was no escaping, we failed ignominiously when we sought to hearten ourselves to a proper state of receptivity with beer. At the Douai concerts no one dreamed of drinking anything. The townspeople sat in decorous little groups under the trees, talking furtively when the loudness of the clarionets permitted them, and reserving their enthusiastic applause for the Chant de Gayant, with which, as in honor bound, each entertainment came to a close. Young girls, charmingly dressed, lingered by their mothers' sides, never even lifting their dark eyes to note the fine self-appreciation of the men who passed them. If they spoke at all, it was in fluttering whispers to one another; if they looked at anything, it was at one another's gowns. They are seldom pretty, these sallow daughters of France; yet, like Gautier's Carmen, their ugliness has in it a grain of salt from that ocean out of which Venus rose. No girls in the whole wide world lead duller lives than theirs. They
That offensive and meaningless phrase, the woman problem, is seldom heard in France, where all problems solve themselves more readily than elsewhere. Midway between the affectionate subservience of German wives and daughters and the gay arrogance of our own, with more self-reliance than the English, and a clearer understanding of their position than all the other three have ever grasped, Frenchwomen find little need to wrangle for privileges which they may easily command. The resources of tact and good taste are well-nigh infinite, and to them is added a capacity for administration and affairs which makes the French gentleman respect his wife's judgment, and places the French shopkeeper at the mercy of his spouse. In whatever walk of life these young provincial girls are destined to tread, they will have no afflicting doubts as to the limits of their usefulness. They will probably never even pause to ask themselves what men would do without them, or to point a lesson vaingloriously from the curious fact that Douai gave Gayant a wife.
have neither the pleasures of a large town nor the freedom of a little one. They may not walk with young companions even of their own sex. They may not so much as go to church alone. Novels, romances, poetry, plays, operas, all things that could stimulate their imaginations and lift them out of the monotonous routine of life, are sternly prohibited. Perpetual espionage forbids the healthy growth of character and faculty, which demand some freedom and solitude for development. The strict seclusion of a convent school is exchanged for a colorless routine of small duties and smaller pleasures. And yet these young girls, bound hand and foot by the narrowest conventionalities, are neither silly nor insipid. A dawning intelligence, finer than mere precocity can ever show, sits on each tranquil brow. When they speak, it is with propriety and grace. In the restrained alertness of their brown eyes, in their air of simplicity and selfcommand, in the instinctive elegance of their dress, one may read, plainly written, the subtle possibilities of the future.
CLEOPATRA TO THE ASP.
"Dost thou not see my baby at my breast, That sucks the nurse asleep?"
LIE thou where Life hath lain,
And let thy swifter pain
His rival prove;
Till, like the fertile Nile,
Death buries, mile for mile,
Soft! Soft! A sweeter kiss
Than Antony's is this!
O regal Shade,
Luxurious as sleep
Upon thy bosom deep
My heart is laid.
John B. Tabb.
THE CHILDREN OF THE ROAD.
THE real "road" is variously named and variously described. By the "ambulanter it is called Gypsyland, by the tramp Hoboland; the fallen woman thinks it is the street, the thief that it means stealing and the penitentiary; even the little boy who reads dime novels and fights hitching-posts for desperadoes believes momentarily that he too is on the real road. All these are indeed branches of the main line. The road proper, or "the turf," as the people who toil along its stretches sometimes prefer to call it, is low life in general. It winds its way through dark alleys and courts to dives and slums, and wherever criminals, hoboes, outcast women, stray and truant children congregate; but it never leads to the smiling windows and doorways of a happy home, except for plunder and crime. There is not a town in the land that it does not touch, and there are but few hamlets that have not sent out at least one adventurer to explore its twists and turnings.
The travelers, as I have said, are of all kinds, conditions, and ages: some old and crippled, some still in their prime, and others just beginning life. To watch in thought the long and motley procession marching on is to see a panorama of all the sins, sorrows, and accidents known to human experience. Year after year they trudge on and on, and always on, seeking a goal which they never seem to find. Occasionally they halt for a while at some halfway house, where they have heard that there is a restingplace of their desire; but it invariably proves disappointing, and the tramp, tramp, tramp, begins afresh. Young and old, man and woman, boy and girl, all go on together; and as one dies or wearies of the march another steps into his
heel-tracks, and the ranks close up as solidly as ever.
The children of the road have always been to me its most pitiful investiture, and I have more than once had dreams and plans that looked to the rescue of these prematurely outcast beings. It needs skilled philanthropists and penologists, however, for such a work, and I must content myself with contributing experiences and facts which may perhaps aid in the formation of theory, and thus throw light upon the practical social tasks. that are before us.
There are four distinct ways by which boys and girls get upon the road: some are born there, some are driven there, others are enticed there, and still others go there voluntarily.
Of those who are born on the road, perhaps the least known are the children of the ambulanters. The name is a tramp invention, and not popular among the ambulanters themselves. They prefer to be called gypsies, and try at times, especially when compelled by law to give some account of themselves, to trace their origin to Egypt; but the most of them, I fear, are degenerated Americans. How they have become so is a question which permits of much conjecture, and in giving my own explanation I do not want it to be taken as applicable to the entire class. I know only about fifty families, and not more than half of these at all familiarly; but those whom I do know seem to me to be the victims of a pure and simple laziness handed down from generation to generation until it has become a chronic family disease. From what they have told me confidentially about their natural history, I picture their forefathers as harmless village "do-nothings," who lounged in corner groceries, hung about taverns, and fol lowed the fire-engine and the circus. The
second generation was probably too numerous for the home parish, and, inheriting the talent for loafing, started out to find roomier lounges. It must have wandered far and long, for upon the third generation, the one that I know, the love of roaming descended to such a degree that all North America is none too large for it. Go where one will, in the most dismal woods, the darkest lanes, or on the widest prairies, there the ambulanter may be found tenting with his large and unkempt family. He comes and goes as his restless spirit dictates, and the horse and wagon carry him from . State to State.
It is in Illinois that I know his family best. Cavalier John, as he proudly called himself, I remember particularly. He gave me shelter one night in his wagon, as I was toiling along the highway south of Ottawa, and we became such good friends that I traveled with his caravan for three days. And what a caravan it was! A negro wife, five little mulattoes, a deformed white girl, three starved dogs, a sore-eyed cat, a blasphemous parrot, a squeaking squirrel, a bony horse, and a canvas-topped wagon, and all were headed "Texas way." John came from Maine originally, but he had picked up his wife in the West, and it was through their united efforts in trickery and clever trading that they had acquired their outfit. So far as I could learn, neither of them had ever done an honest stroke of business. The children ranged from three years to fourteen, and the deformed girl was nearly twenty. John found her among some other ambulanters in Ohio, and, thinking that he might make money out of her physical monstrosities at " side-shows," cruelly traded off an old fox for her. She ought to have been in an insane asylum, and I hope John has put her there long ago. The other "kidlets," as they were nicknamed, were as deformed morally as was the adopted girl physically. They had to beg in every town and vil
lage they came to, and at night their father took the two oldest with him in his raids on the hen-roosts. It was at town and county fairs, however, that they were the most profitable. Three knew how to pick pockets, and the youngest two gave acrobatic exhibitions. None of them had ever been in school, none could read or write, and the only language they spoke was the one of their class. I have never been able to learn it well, but it is a mixture of Rom and tramp dialects with a dash of English slang.
On the journey we met another caravan, bound west by way of Chicago. There were two families, and the children numbered sixteen; the oldest ranging from fifteen to twenty, and the youngest had just appeared. We camped together in a wood for a night and a day, and seldom have I sojourned in such company. John had given me a place with him in the wagon, but now the woman with the babe was given the wagon, and John and I slept, or tried to, "in the open." In the other wagon, both sexes, young and old, were crowded into a space not much larger than the ordinary omnibus, and the vermin would have made sleep impossible to any other order of beings. The next day, being Sunday, was given over to play and revel, and the poor horses had a respite from their sorrows. The children invented a queer sort of game, something like "shinny," and used a dried-up cat's head as block. They kicked, pounded, scratched, and cursed one another; but when the play was over all was well again, and the block was tucked away in the wagon for further use. Late at night the journeys were taken up once more, one caravan moving on toward Dakota, and the other toward the Gulf.
"Salawakkee! "1 cried John, as he drove away; and the strangers cried back, “Chalamu!" 2
I wonder what has become of that little baby for whom I sat the night out? 1 So long. 2 Live well.